Talking About Books Thursday - Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Set in segregated Memphis, TN in 1959, the story is told by the young narrator grappling with a stuttering problem and coming of age issues during this volatile, and sometimes violent, period in American history.  Little Man, as he is called by his parents, takes over his best friend's paper route for one month in the summer.  He knew his stuttering would make some parts of the job difficult, but he is not fully prepared for all the kinds of people he meets, the challenges they face, or the courage he will need.  In the kind of quiet, yet deep pace of the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, the events slowly unravel all while you feel the internal pressure of the characters digging deep wells into your own thinking about how complicated it is to grow up and reconcile the world around you with the protected place of your childhood.  There are some difficult scenes, but nothing inappropriate for most upper elementary students.  It's been circulating to a number of 5th and 6th grade students this year, which is one reason I decided to read it over Christmas break.  It was also a 2014 Newbery Honor book.


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